Switching stylists causes hairy situation

Dear Scott: Is it appropriate to change hairdressers in the same salon? I have been going to the same person and getting the same haircut for years. There is a new person in the salon and he does more modern cuts and his hair coloring is outstanding. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but it seems that my person is stuck in a rut. I thought that if she took continuing education in cuts and color that she would pick up new and interesting styles but it has not happened. She talks constantly about all the new things she has learned but she must be using them on someone else. Please don’t tell me to change salons. I want to stay at this salon but I want to use the new stylist.


Answer: Your last sentence says what you would like to do. You are a paying customer so you should do as you like. Salon business guidelines of professionalism in the salon environment would say that switching in the same salon is perfectly OK. It is actually preferred over losing a client.

The owner of the salon would also be happy to hear that you think enough of the salon to continue patronizing the establishment. Even more so if you called there in the first place for your initial appointment. I am wondering if you just want to try out the new kid on the block.

You say that you have been going to the same person for years. Then there must be something that you like about this person. You are worried about hurting her feelings. A personal connection happens between the stylist and a client during the course of many years of service. Expect her feelings to be hurt.

Although you are paying for a service and buying a product at the end of the transaction, there is a real person involved within the “service” part of this. If you are not happy with either, then it may be time to move on or at least speak up.

Sometimes stylists don’t realize that a client is ready for a change unless you tell them so.

I get bored doing the same thing, so I tend to change hairstyles often on my clients. Your girl may be using the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” rule. Unless the stylist is psychic, you might want to mention that you are tired of your hair.

I have clients that I’ve seen for years. I get connected and attached to them. Most people would think that the hardest part of a hairstylist job is getting the hairdo right. It is not. The hardest part of our job is when we lose a client who we like.

The switch is uncomfortable for both stylist and client, when it is done in the same salon. As a salon owner, it would make me happy that you stayed in my salon. As a stylist, the last thing I want to see is one of my clients that I care about sitting in someone else’s chair.


Tip of the week: Hurting another person’s feelings can have a big price tag. Change salons if switching stylists.


Scott Terwilliger, an Aiken salon owner, can be reached at scott.terwilliger@hotmail.com.